Sound — 7
GWAR has surprisingly returned to their early
punk roots on Bloody Pit of Horror. With the realisation that GWAR would be incorporating 8-string guitars on this release, I expected greater technicality to the band's music. Although it isn't played at breakneck thrash speed, Bloody Pit of Horror is perhaps not as technical as one might expect, but there's still enough sweep-picking to satisfy the virtuosos out there. Zombies March, the album opener, is a sordid affair, introducing the listener to this stripped down sound. Of course, sordid in GWAR-terms is a positive, and it's a solid album opener. The guitar riffs are fast paced, although somewhat lacking in distortion. In fact, Zombies March ismusically, of course, quite a clean, listenable track, a trait for which GWAR must be applauded. There is the inclusion of an interesting guitar solo, for which GWAR fans will be grateful. The song has a Misfits horror-punk vibe to it, particularly after the minute-mark. The doom-influenced, Come the Carnivor (sic) is a disappointing number, while the thrash metal of A Gathering of Ghouls provides enjoyment in abundance. Tick Tits is the next musical highlight of the album, its melodies even threatening to momentarily turn GWAR into a pop-metal band. Then the record label executives heard the lyrics. Beat You to Death includes a fabulously crafted introductory guitar lead that borrows the drama of KISS, juxtaposing it with the poise of Alice Cooper. The song itself is one for the pit, a brutal number that will only serve GWAR's explosively offensive live show. It's only a pity that the listener is forced to wait until the end of the track for a return of that tasty lead guitar, with a most exciting solo piece. You Are My Meat is the ballad of the album; it's not quite GWAR's Enter Sandman, but we should be generous to a band whose lyrical and musical content is less than rated for family listening. Nothing should detract from the music mastery demonstrated on You Are My Meat. This is an impressive album standout track. GWAR doesn't avoid the odd album filler (The Litany of the Slain), and that's to be expected from a band who has been in the game for this long. GWAR might never recover their mainstream popularity, but the band's new releases are rightfully anticipated with great expectation. 7 (Solid, but not quite a valuable addition to the band's back catalogue.)
Lyrics — 6
Bloody Pit of Horror is, lyrically speaking, atypical shock rock, but let's not pretend that GWAR has sprung a surprise on us here. The lyrics aren't exactly deep, and one would be forgiven for letting readers determine what the meaning is of songs such as Beat You To Death; Hail, Genocide, Sick and Twisted, andmy personal favourite, Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend (surprisingly quite a mellow, pop hook-laced song). This is standard material for GWAR, and it's not difficult to see why the band was once one of the most feared bands on the planet.
Overall Impression — 6
Bloody Pit of Horror does well to maintain GWAR's status as shock rockers extraordinaire, but that's all it does. GWAR isn't the sort of band that might be more relevant during one period of time than at another, but the band puts in enough blood and sweat to get by, while the band's live show remains one of the biggest spectacles in rock music. I just don't know how many more songs referencing Aushwitz-Doctor of Death Joseph Mengele I can put up with. Slayer did it years ago, and with KZ Necromancer, GWAR has flogged a dead horse. Aside from the irresponsible use of such characters, I'm sick of the same shock tactics being employed as in the past. Surely GWAR's status as innovators must be questioned. It has been twenty six years, after all.